Yesterday we managed to check a few things off our to-do list, and we treated ourselves while we were at it.
I've not set foot in a Toys R Us in years, and I don't plan to start now. Finnegan's was just as crazy yesterday afternoon as I imagine a TRU would be, but I'm happy to tolerate it. We love that toy store, and often find ourselves regressing and "oohing" and "aahing" over something we wish we could have. (For me, it's usually when I start to reminisce about all the Breyer horses I once had.) We finished the shopping for the PA niece & nephew there, and then went off to get some chocolates for Chris' assistant. We wanted to try something new, and were in the mood for a bit of a pick-me-up, so made our way to the oddly-located Sahagún Chocolates for a warm cup of chocolately goodness.
You may remember that I'd once waxed poetic about the hot chocolate at Mio Gelato (which I still adore). Well, after writing about that cocoa, I got a recommendation from the Food Dude to try Sahagún's version. We were happy to taste-test.
As the Food Dude told me, the cocoa at Sahagún "isn't as thick [as Mio Gelato's], but has a much more complex flavor." They rotate the chocolate they're using for their chocolate drinks, and yesterday it was an Ecuadorian. I have no idea how that might compare to others, but this was sublime. It's a dark, dark chocolate that - despite its liquidy consistency - almost makes you want to chew it. We just sipped it and smiled at each other.
A handy tip about the location - it's barely off Burnside on NW 16th, right around the corner from that Fantasy sex shop... And apparently no one wants their car to be seen in front of Fantasy, because the entire span of street parking was available when we drove up. We looked at each other, shrugged, and figured, "What the hell?" So, check that block in front of Fantasy if you're having trouble locating a parking spot. The chocolate is so good that you might feel it's a bit of a sin anyway, so it sort of fits.
Interestingly, while we were sitting there sipping, who should walk in but the owner of Mio Gelato - who ordered a hot chocolate and then watched the owner very closely as she made it. We were tempted to say something to him, quietly, about how much we like his hot chocolate as well, but decided against it. We figured he can't possibly be thinking Sahagún is anything close to a competitor, but rather just wanted to sample the local goodies. Still, it was a funny sighting.
The lovely hot chocolate at Sahagún. Another tidbit which we couldn't help but notice - the owner looks like a cross between the actress in "Amelie" and Juliette Binoche. She's adorable. And the chocolate shop itself has the vibe of the one in "Chocolat." So, do yourself a favor and transport yourself to France for a few minutes. You'll be glad you did.
Last night was an evening of complete indulgence, as it was the most recent installment of our "dinner club" with our friends Glen & Steph. We've been doing this with them for several years now - we'll take turns picking a restaurant every month or so and not telling the other couple where we're going, and whoever's choice it is picks up the tab. We've sampled quite a number of the local eateries over the years, and finally last night decided to brainstorm the list. It is as follows (in no particular order), and restaurants are in Portland unless otherwise noted:
The Bay House (Lincoln City)
The Ark (Willapa Bay, WA)
The Berlin Inn
Red Hills (Dundee)
Nick's Italian Cafe (McMinnville)
The Bamboo Grove
Riccardo's (Lake Oswego)
Cucina Cucina (Tigard)
In looking over this list, it's sad to note that some of the places we visited no longer even exist. I was just yesterday remembering the sweet corn creme brulee I had at Lucere... *sigh*
All of that aside, it's an incredibly fun tradition we now have, and though the food is certainly a focus, it's more about making the time to spend a few hours with some dear friends who we don't see that often anymore. We keep thinking someday we'll write a book about the "dinner club," but since that's not likely to happen anytime soon, this post will have to suffice.